Sunday, June 17, 2012

Been lazy

Wow, I've been lazy. My last post was over a month ago.

I saw Prometheus a few days ago. It was good.

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read any further unless you have already seen the movie!

The idea that humankind is not native to Earth, but that it instead descended from an alien species is not a new one,  but it's probably not true.

We have ample genetic and fossil evidence to support the idea that we instead share common ancestors with apes, and with many other species on Earth. In order to be descended from aliens, pretty much life on Earth would have to also be descended from the same aliens, because we share DNA with reptiles and fish, and that wasn't the implication of the movie.

I would love for us to be an alien species. I would love for our long-lost cousins to land on planet Earth and give us super-advanced technology that would change the course of our civilization. But the truth is, if there are aliens out there, they are most certainly not related to us, and will most likely try to do to us what Europeans did to native Americans; that is to say exterminate our kin so they can steal our natural resources, and force us onto reservations where we can sell discounted gasoline and cigarettes at tax-free casinos a few hundred years later. That's a joke of course.

The point is, yes, the movie is entertaining; go see it now. However, I must disagree with the posited theory contained therein that homo sapiens is not native to Earth. We most certainly originated on Earth, and did not have designers. We evolved from ancestral species, that much is for sure.


  1. There are some plausible scenarios in which life did not originate on Earth. It's not only highly probable, but we know for a fact that in the early solar system, there were a lot of collisions. While there is zero evidence for it, it's perfectly plausible that Mars (or another celestial body) may have had life and was hit, which brought the microbes to Earth via a wayward chunk of rock.

    I don't think an encounter with a space-faring species would go badly for us, either. Consider this: there are trillions of star systems in our galaxy, with many more trillions of planets. If these aliens just want raw materials, there are many places to look for them, and nearly all of them would be a better source than Earth. Just about the only thing we have special on Earth is so much water, though it's mostly salty. Still, water is a common component in the universe, and it would be easier to mine ice from asteroids than to land on Earth, desalinate our water, then take off from Earth with it (those two processes, desalinization and escaping Earth's gravity, are very energy intensive).

    If anything, the interesting commodity on Earth is human life. An alien visit (or communications sent to our planet) would probably be for the purposes of interacting with us in some way, not to economically exploit us. I mean... there are dead stars that are now diamonds the size of (or larger than) our planet, so I don't think a space-faring race with access to the whole of the universe would be interested in the "riches" we have on our little wet rock.

    What's more, an alien race who has reached the point of interstellar travel will have probably (hopefully?) matured as a species well beyond humanity. Besides, what happened to the native tribes in America had less to do with how technologically advanced Europeans were, and more to do with how barbaric Europeans remained, not to mention how lucky they were that they carried diseases that wiped out vast populations of indigenous people.

    There's even mounting evidence that plagues were hitting the tribes before the arrival of Europeans en masse, possibly brought over by the Vikings, but also just as likely from an emergent epidemic (possibly syphilis) native to North America (which is the region most affected prior to the arrival of settlers).

    1. Maybe they are a parasitic species and need to implant their larvae into our bodies to be able to complete their life cycle...

      Or maybe they want arable land on a temperate planet to grow their crops, which we have a lot of. Unfortunately, we would not want them to take our land from us, so we most likely would fight them, which means they would most likely wipe us out, unless they have no immunity to the nasty pathogens we sneeze around all the time. What it comes down to, is basically Guns, Germs and Steel.

      They might have matured beyond the need for warfare, but how would we know? Our wars are just as barbaric as they always have been, there is no sign that we are maturing on that front, in spite of our budding space-faring capabilities. Who's to say they aren't at war with each other?